When it comes to pregnancy, we tend to go the extra mile to ensure our personal health and wellness. And because our modern, western diets can leave gaps in our nutritional needs, many women have long-recognized the benefit that prenatal vitamins can provide for both mother and baby.
While the iron, folate, and calcium in your prenatal vitamin can help protect your child from the most common birth defects, adding a prenatal probiotic to your arsenal of motherhood must-haves can go a long way to help encourage the absorption of these nutrients, nurture your baby’s immune system, and support you in the face of common, uncomfortable roadblocks that can occur during pregnancy and postpartum life.
Why do I need probiotics if I already take a prenatal vitamin?
The nutrients from prenatal vitamins can be extremely beneficial for the growth and development of your child.
But did you know that babies are born with a mostly sterile gut?
They actually inherit their entire microbiome (their ecosystem of microorganisms that live in and on the body) from their mothers in the placenta and as they pass through the birth canal and begin to nurse.
The microbes they inherit through birth, breast milk, and skin-to-skin contact become the building blocks for your child’s immune system, which is why it’s critical to inoculate your infant with the bacteria needed to set them up for a lifetime of health.
Gut health has an overwhelming impact on lifelong wellness, and establishing it early is one of the most important things you can do for your baby. As such, taking both a prenatal vitamin and a probiotic can provide tremendous support for both mother and baby—during pregnancy and in the months that follow.
How do probiotics affect mother and baby?
Probiotics made with mothers in mind can help ensure that your baby receives lots of beneficial bacteria (as well as nutrients from your prenatal vitamin), which can build the foundation for healthier days ahead.
You see, a baby’s immune system is determined by the flora it inherits from its mother. From the mode of delivery (C-section or vaginal birth) to the microbes in your breast milk or formula, your baby’s microbiome begins with you and then relies on outside factors (like diet and environment) to keep it in balance.
Once your baby is born and begins to eat, the beneficial bacteria and other microorganisms in your breast milk directly interact with your newborn’s saliva. It’s like a perfectly choreographed dance where you and your child’s bacteria are literally communicating with each other, telling one what the other needs to make in order to thrive. That’s right, the composition of bacteria in a mother’s milk is dynamic and in sync with her infant’s needs. It’s truly incredible.1
In addition, when your own flora is healthy and plentiful, your body is able to respond optimally to your baby’s signals. In other words, when you maintain a sufficient supply of beneficial flora, vitamins, and nutrients, you are more readily able to provide your little one with the precise concoction that his or her body is requesting.
Aside from supporting your child, probiotics can pack a positive punch for moms as well. A healthy balance of bacteria can support digestive health and discourage pregnancy-related constipation and many of the tummy troubles that occur throughout this phase of life.
Not only can probiotics help you avoid digestive distress, but probiotics can also encourage an ideal mental and emotional balance (hello, hormones). And by supporting nutrition absorption, probiotics help your body naturally maintain the energy you need to feel your best both before and after your baby arrives into the world.
How do I choose the right supplements?
Start with a clean, powerful prenatal vitamin such as MegaFoods Baby & Me™ or Vitamin Code RAW Prenatal. It’s important to choose supplements during pregnancy that support prenatal health at the foundational level.
The truth is, many supplements on the market contain less than desirable ingredients that can impact (and sometimes even disrupt) the bacteria and microbes that dwell within your body. So be sure to look at the reviews, check the labels, and don’t put anything in your body that you wouldn’t want your baby to have—such as refined sugar and unnatural or unnecessary additives.
From prenatals and multivitamins to magnesium and fish oil, there are a myriad of natural health supplements on the market that can benefit expecting and new mothers and their delicate gut flora. A recent study published in Cell Metabolism even found that healthy fats like fish oil and other omega-3s encouraged the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut environment of mice, as compared to those given unhealthy fats, such as lard. This study showed that fish oil combined with probiotics may even help counteract a diet high in greasy foods or cuisine that isn’t the most ideal during pregnancy.2
The best way to get the most out of any of these supplements is to make sure that your body is properly absorbing them, and maintaining a bounty of probiotic colonies that are well-established within the gut can help you do just that.
We’ve put our heads together to create a powerful prenatal probiotic supplement specifically formulated for expectant and nursing mothers. It’s called PRO-Moms and it’s made with 8 unique strains hand-picked for the benefits they provide to new mothers. It also includes kiwifruit powder—a superfood that can support digestion and regularity (a common struggle for many expecting moms).
Probiotics are one of the top recommended supplements to take during pregnancy for many reasons, and our PRO-Moms formula is the perfect partner for your prenatal vitamin.
1. Cabrera-Rubio, R., Collado, M. C., Laitinen, K., Salminen, S., Isolauri, E., & Mira, A. (2012). The human milk microbiome changes over lactation and is shaped by maternal weight and mode of delivery. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,96(3), 544-551.
2. Caesar, R., Tremaroli, V., Kovatcheva-Datchary, P., Cani, P., & Bäckhed, F. (2015). Crosstalk between Gut Microbiota and Dietary Lipids Aggravates WAT Inflammation through TLR Signaling. Cell Metabolism,22(4), 658-668.
Julie Hays is the Communications Director here at Hyperbiotics. Health writer and mama of two little girls, Julie's on a mission to empower others to live lives free of the microbial depletion many of us face today. For more ideas on how you can maximize wellness and benefit from the power of probiotics, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.